January 29, 20
David Schlinkert, policy analyst, Morrison Institute for Public Policy
Melissa Kovacs, Ph.D., associate director of research, Morrison Institute for Public Policy

honoring wishesAre you ready and willing to save a life? RightCare believes that your survival should not depend upon your Zip code.

Policy Brief Excerpt:

When it comes time to check a mother, father or grandparent into a senior care facility, families want to know that staff will make every effort to respect both their loved ones’ health and wishes.

First responders called to a senior care facility for a cardiac arrest emergency want no less, with their duty focused on saving a life but also respecting a loved one’s wishes.
According to some firefighters in Arizona, two things often get in the way of that goal:

  • Staff at senior care facilities fail to begin resuscitation before first responders arrive, making lifesaving opportunities all the more difficult with every passing minute.
  • End-of-life wishes, called Advanced Directives, are not readily available to first responders, essentially tying their hands on what course to take.

First responders in such situations are forced to either:

  • Save seniors in their twilight days who might not want to be saved; or
  • Resuscitate seniors who want to be saved, but due to confusion and delay by facility staff, highly likely will suffer brain damage if saved.

It takes Arizona firefighters approximately 8 minutes to arrive at a senior care facility.
Brain damage begins after 5 minutes without oxygen.